Abidiel Arroyo (pictured) scored on a penalty kick in Arabe Unido's 2-1 CONCACAF Champions League loss to the Houston Dynamo on August 27, 2013. (Photo: Bob Levey)
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago – Panama’s Arabe Unido (1-0-1, 3 points) hopes it left its scoring problems at home, when it travels to Trinidad for a CONCACAF Champions League meeting on Thursday against DIRECTV W Connection (0-1-1, 1 point) at Hasely Crawford Stadium. For CONCACAF official notes about this game, click here.
Though the encounter is crucial for the home side – it will be eliminated with a loss – a win for Arabe will push it past the Houston Dynamo (1-1-0, 4 points) for first place in Group 1.
In their first game, Arabe Unido got past the Trinidadians, 3-1. Humberto Ward struck for two first-half goals and Jose González added another nine minutes after the break, while Neil Benjamin netted in the 76th minute for the visitors.
Since then, many things have changed for both teams.
W Connection opened its domestic on Saturday with an emphatic 7-0 win over St. Ann’s Rangers. St. Lucia defender Kurt Frederick struck for a hat-trick, while Suriname international forward Stefano Rijssel netted a brace.
Arabe, on the other hand, have found the last few weeks challenging in the Panamanian league. It has picked up only one point in its last three contests and was shutout on each occasion.
Head coach Jair Palacios knows that if his team is to progress in the Champions League, it must get the offense sorted out.
“We are looking at how to fix the team’s finishing which has me worried,” said Palacios. “We are managing control of the ball well, so we are going to work a lot on our finishing which is most needed.
“The idea is to go to win in Trinidad, get the result and hope that things go for us against a team that comes in on the rise and so we cannot be overconfident.”
It will not be easy for the 10-time Panamanian champion, especially since it has scored one goal or less in 12 of its last 15 CCL outings. W Connection, though, is winless in its last six games in the competition.
Liga de Campeones